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Common Endocrinology Conditions

Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and metabolic disorders that affect the glands and prevent the body from functioning properly.

Diabetes

Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans, and over 40 million Americans are at risk for developing diabetes.

There are two main classifications of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in children, teens, and young adults but can develop at any age. It isn’t caused by poor diet or lifestyle choices. Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, resulting in high blood sugar in the bloodstream. Type 1 accounts for 5% – 10% of diabetic cases.

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adults over 45, but the number of children and teens developing it is increasing. This type of diabetes usually develops over several years and is most often caused by excess weight, an unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin, meaning cells don’t respond normally to it. Your pancreas then makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond, but because your pancreas can’t keep up, your blood sugar rises.

Both types of diabetes can lead to loss of eyesight, ketoacidosis, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage (neuropathy), and skin disorders.

Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists treat diabetes with diet and medications, including insulin. They also work closely with your primary care physician to control and monitor blood sugar and prevent additional health issues. Our endocrinology nurses are also certified as diabetes educators (CDEs) and work as an extension of our doctors by educating you on diet and lifestyle changes to help you manage your diabetes.

Thyroid Disease

There are four main types of thyroid disease: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, benign (non-cancerous) thyroid disease, and thyroid cancer. They are caused by the thyroid gland producing either too much or too little of the hormones that affect the body’s critical systems and functions.

The thyroid gland is in the front of the neck, just below the voice box. When the gland isn’t working properly, it can impact your entire body. If it produces too much thyroid hormone, you can develop hyperthyroidism. If it produces too little, you can develop hypothyroidism. Because the thyroid controls metabolism, having too much or too little of the hormones it produces can lead to issues with energy, sleep, mood, menstruation for women, heat and cold tolerance, and weight.

The endocrinologists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic diagnose and treat the hormonal imbalances caused by thyroid disease. They’ll work with your primary care doctor to perform diagnostic tests, prescribe medication to help your thyroid gland work properly, and monitor your hormone levels.

Bone Disorders

Bone disorders involve abnormal bone metabolism, which is associated with abnormal levels of parathyroid hormone, estrogen, and testosterone, as well as minerals such as calcium and vitamin D. The most common type of bone disorder is osteoporosis, but other, less common disorders include osteomalacia and Paget’s disease of bone. All of these conditions are treated by Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 10 million Americans, while another 18 million have osteopenia, which is low bone mass that can lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.

Parathyroid and other hormones act to protect bone tissue, and when hormone levels are abnormal, bones can lose calcium and weaken, resulting in bone fractures.

The leading cause of osteoporosis is a drop in estrogen in women during menopause and a drop in testosterone in men due to aging. Women, especially those older than 50, get osteoporosis more often than men.

Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists diagnose and treat osteoporosis, as well as other conditions that can affect bones, through medications, supplements, and ongoing care.

Pituitary Disorders

The pituitary is often called the master gland of the body because it controls other glands and produces several important hormones.

The over- or under-production of pituitary hormones can cause an imbalance that can lead to infertility, menstrual disorders, growth disorders, and too much cortisol production (Cushing’s syndrome).

Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists can help control these conditions with medications and refer patients who need surgery due to pituitary tumors.

Hypertension

Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. While hypertension is typically caused by family history, smoking, obesity, and other factors, in about 10% – 15% of people, it’s caused by too much aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands.

When aldosterone levels are normal, the hormone helps balance sodium and potassium in the blood. But when the level of aldosterone is too high, it can cause you to lose potassium and retain sodium, which in turn causes your body to retain too much water. This increases your blood volume and blood pressure.

Hormone-induced hypertension can be successfully treated by Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists with medication and lifestyle changes.

Lipid Disorders

Lipids, or lipoproteins, are the fats circulating in the body’s bloodstream. Although you might not have heard of lipoproteins, you’ve likely heard of LDL and HDL cholesterol, which stand for low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins, respectively. Triglycerides are also a form of lipids.

When your body is functioning normally, your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides are low and your HDL or “good” cholesterol is high. However, certain factors, typically genetics, diet, and smoking, can cause LDL cholesterol and triglycerides to become elevated. High cholesterol can also be the result of a lipid disorder caused by an endocrinological condition, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or metabolic syndrome.

Patients with lipid disorders have trouble maintaining normal levels of body fat, so they tend to be overweight or obese. They also may have symptoms of heart disease, which is associated with untreated high cholesterol.

Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists can help patients manage lipid disorders through a specialized diet, exercise, and medication. We also offer a Primary Prevention Lipid Clinic, a program designed to help people at risk of developing lipid disorders.

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